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Oil Painting for 14 - 17 Year Olds

Oil Painting for 14 - 17 Year Olds

Chelsea College of Arts
Taught by
Sarah Sparkes


Learn to master some of the techniques of oil painting as you discover why this versatile medium has been a favourite choice for many artists over the centuries. This course has been specially designed for younger students who will spend a week working alongside a practising artist to learn the techniques and experiment with new processes. The course includes a visit to Tate Modern where students can look at how artists have worked with oils over the past 100 years. Back in the studio you will learn about composition, colour and application as you create your own works from observation and photographs. You will experiment with a variety of techniques from the traditional to contemporary. This course promises to be hands on and dynamic as we encourage you to explore scale and consider the possibilities of working on a range of surfaces.

Course outcomes
At the end of the course you will have more confidence in your painting skills and have experienced a range of approaches to creating work. 

Who should attend 
This course is aimed at anyone aged 14 - 17 years with an interest in art and design, keen to explore the possibilities of working with oil paint. Whether you are considering pursuing further education in art or are just looking for a fun holiday experience!


Please note - Students should make arrangements to take their work home at the end of the course. Any work that is left in the studio, during or after the course, is at a student’s own risk. In such circumstances students should ensure that work is clearly labelled with their name, course title and dates. Work will be kept for no longer than one month after the end of the course. Please note that we are unable to arrange for the delivery of your work, but would be very happy to prepare this ready for collection should you wish to arrange for a courier.

Tutor Description

Sarah Sparkes is an artist and independent curator whose practice explores the immaterial and how this may be visualised. Since 2008 she has run the curatorial research project GHost. She has organised numerous collaborative and solo projects, working with both U.K. and international artists and realising ambitious events and exhibitions in both public and private spaces - including the London Art Fair and Folkestone Triennial. She holds an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts and between 2009 - 2011 was a Research Fellow at the University of London. As well as leading and curating a number of visual arts projects, she frequently exhibits her own work which encompasses installation, painting, performance and film. She was the 2015 the winner of the MERU Art*Science Award, recently had a solo exhibition with New Art Projects. A qualified HE Lecturer, she has taught within both academic and non-academic environments and is currently lecturing in Fine Art and Independent Curating at a number of London institutions including Tate Modern and University of the Arts. She lectures and has published widely on her own practice and curatorial projects.


Please bring the following materials with you on the first day:

  • 2 glass jars (jam jars etc.)
  • Palette (you can use an old ceramic plate for this)
  • Palette knives (plastic or metal)
  • 2 A2 canvases or canvas boards
  • A2 or A3 oil paper pad with pages that can be torn out
  • Hog-hair brushes in a range of sizes – including a small size 2 brush, and a brush at around 1.5cm width. Please make sure you have a few round-ended brushes and a few flat brushes in your kit.
  • Cloths or rags to clean your palette and brushes
  • Apron or old clothing to protect your clothes
  • A camera to document your work

Oil paints:

  • White
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Cerulean blue (hue)
  • Cadmium red (hue)
  • Lemon yellow
  • Alizarin crimson
  • Yellow ochre

There is a canteen onsite, alternatively you may wish to bring a packed lunch with you.

Please note that studio safe solvent and medium is provided by the college. Students are advised not to bring their own products for health and safety purposes.

Please note that most materials needed for the short courses are available at the Chelsea College of Arts' Art Shop. Please contact the Art Shop directly for opening hours and availability.

Available dates